How To Be a Kook

With a new generation of skaters on the come up, I couldn’t stay quiet much longer. The fact is, the quality of kooks has been declining at an alarming rate, so like Brian Peck teaching you BS shuv-it slides, I’m here to lay it down and crack an egg of knowledge over your heads. My topic today is How To Be a Kook. Get ready, cause we’re about to make an omelet in this bish.

What is a kook, you ask? A kook is that person that comments “This video was gnarly!” but gives it a thumbs down on YouTube. They’re the one that asks where every spot is on every picture they see online. They ask what setup you’re riding, especially if it’s already listed somewhere. They’ll blow spots and take pride in it, then look for the next one. It takes a special person to be a kook, but you can do it if you try. Just follow our simple steps:

Step 1: Fix Your Facebook Name

First things first, before you even get your fiendish setup (and we’ll get to that later, trust me) you’re going to need a Facebook account. Use your real first and last name, but make sure to use one of your skate credentials, like “Longest Toesides in CT,” as your middle name. Why? Because it’ll make you more effective for…

Step 2: Make Friends

Add Friend and Message: a kook's best friends.Friend every single sponsored longboarder you’ve ever heard of. If you run out of names, start friending the friends of the sponsored longboarders you just sent friend requests to. If anyone rejects your friend request (especially if you’ve never met nor talked to them) just keep sending them friend requests until they accept. If they still don’t accept you, hunt them down on Twitter and Instagram. That’ll also flow nicely into…

Step 3: Stay Informed

Find every single person you just friended on Facebook and stalk…I mean…follow them on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Vine. If you need to, create accounts on all of those services. Extra points if you start dressing the same as them and recreating all of their photos/Vines.

Step 4: Show You Care

Comment on everything they post. If a longboard is in a picture, ask what the setup is (ESPECIALLY if they list what the setup is somewhere already) and how much everything costs. It’s also good practice to ask where the spot is if you see a road or people skating in a picture. Advanced kooks will also tell the person that posted the picture that their wrong about facts they clearly know — this should only be done by advanced kooks! It’s not easy!

Very advanced kook messaging skills. Thanks to Mike Girard for the screenshot.

Very advanced kook messaging skills. Thanks to Mike Girard for the screenshot.

Step 5: Get In Touch

Message everyone relentlessly asking to be in edits of theirs, especially if you live far away, and if you can get on their team too. Emphasize that you’re a very serious skateboarder and, despite being 13, you’re a necessity to their team and future marketing efforts.

Step 6: Get Your Setup Right

Kooks need the most fiendish setupAcquire the most fiendish setup money can buy. Go online and troll through every review you can find. Make sure to comment on every post, video, and photo you see asking what they thought about it. Buy that product no matter what they say, that’s what B/S/T’s are for later, right?

Step 7: Crash the Party

Crash every session you hear about. Once you’re there, instead of skating, just ask questions about gear. Ask to borrow everyones setup and do putt tricks on it. Give it back to them and only say what you didn’t like about it. Make sure you only point negatives out, while it might come close, nothing is good enough for a true kook.

Step 8: Just Skate It.

When you’re not up to speed on where a big session is going down, go to every hill you can find and skate it — especially if you know there’s a regular crew that loves it and respects it. If you know there are people that skate it, make sure you don’t tell them you’re going to be there — you don’t need their practical advice. If it’s way out of your league, suck it up and get the road rash you’ve been craving all day. Extra points if you can make the cops come and blow the spot for a few years.

Step 9: Blow Spots

If you don’t feel like skating (who can blame you?) or can’t get a ride the next best thing to do is blow spots. Blowing spots is a great way to share them with everyone so more people can enjoy them. The best thing to do is go online and post the name and location of every run you recognize in photos and videos. If the comment gets deleted just repost it. If someone argues with

In the end…

Remember, this is just a starter guide, if you really want to be a kook, you’ve got to go way above and beyond this tutorial. Put your heart into it and before you know it people everywhere will be talking about how annoying you are, how they hope you don’t show up at their skate spot, and how they’re so much happier now that they blocked you. You’ll be famous!

This also acts as a great guide for How To Not Be a Kook if you do the exact opposite of everything we said here.

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How Josh Moskowitz Just Won the Most Improved Award

Josh Moskowitz might be up for a fat Most Improved award after this video cause the kid has been steady killing it this season, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s proof that if you focus on having fun skating and staying persistent, you’ll progress like whoa.

Fellow Westchester, NY locals and friends, Chris O’Brien and Beau Turcotte, joined in on the fun too. Obviously Chris’s skating is on point, as always, tearing up some of the 78a Pink Metro Motions with Beau coming in strong as well.

While I’m not too familiar with Beau, we’ll be keeping an eye on him for sure. Let me also take a second to be clear here, there’s no actual Most Improved Award…but if there was…

Check it out below then let us know what you think in the comments.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Trucks: Part 2

This is a continuation of the first part of Everything You Need to Know About Trucks. If you haven’t read Part 1 we highly recommend starting there and then continuing on to part 2. We’re currently planning a part 3 to come soon.

Baseplate Degrees:

46* and 50* Baseplates

46* Area vs 50* Paris Baseplates

The degree of the truck’s baseplate decides how much lean a rider has to give in order to make the truck turn.  The lower the baseplate degree, the less the truck is physically able to turn and the more lean it takes to turn the truck.  Baseplates usually run between 40-50 degrees with 50 degree being the most common angle. 45 degree trucks are considered low degree, and anything lower than that is for people who just love to lean.  Baseplate angle can also effect slides, in the sense that low degree baseplates typically create lower degree slides.  This is because the hanger will turn less at the point that you are used to leaning on higher degree trucks.  Typically, a low degree truck is better for a rider who likes their body weight farther off of their board and likes to take wide lines.  Higher degree trucks are for people who want to fiend, and are good for quick and agile turns, throwing around lots of lines and thrashing.  Speed plays a role in baseplate as well, typically lower degree trucks feel more stable at speed but be harder to turn and feel much more dead at low speeds.  Low degree trucks tend to feel a bit more lively once they are pushed up to speed, though.

Hangers:

Bushing Seat

All trucks on the market have unique bushing seats that effect how the hanger interacts with the bushing, affecting the turn of the truck. The restrictiveness of the bushing seat effects how the truck compresses the bushing when turning.  An open bushing seat compresses the bushing as little as possible, creating the least amount of restriction on your turn.  Examples of open, unrestrictive bushing seats include Aeras, Randals, and PNL.  When there’s a bit of metal coming outward surrounding the bushing, it causes the bushing to compress against the metal wall when turning, causing the truck to be more restrictive.  Examples of trucks that are somewhat restrictive include Munkaes, Calibers, Surf-Rodz, and Ronin’s.  The long and short: the more restrictive the bushing seat, the less lean and turn you’ll get (and the “tighter” the truck will feel).

restrictive_vs_open_bushing_seats

Hanger Size

The width of the hanger affects the tracking of the wheels.  While the turning radius is defined by the baseplate, the hanger size will define where the wheels track. That means you’ll be able to rail the same turn on 150mm hangers and 190mm hangers, but your wheels will be in different places.

Hanger sizes affect the leverage over your bushings more than anything else. A narrower hanger size will grip the pavement more, whil a wider one will allow you to break traction and slide much easier. This is why you frequently see super small hanger widths on slalom decks.

Example of different sized hangers

Paris 180mm vs Paris 150mm

 Larger hangers feel less responsive when turning and track much wider.  Larger hangers also create lower degree slides, less traction, and slides that maintain speed for longer.  Reverse kingpin trucks come in various hanger widths but the most popular size is around 180mm.  For commuting and cruising setups people will run 150mm hangers, but it isn’t common in most downhill and freeride.  Most downhill and freeride setups run between around 170mm-190mm.

Hanger Style

Truck hangers have different characteristics in terms of how the truck pivot feels relative to the baseplate degree.  Hangers may either turn at the same angle as the baseplate or feel like they turn at different angles. Positive rake will add more height to your truck setup, giving you more traction with the road and leverage on the bushing, while negative rake will make the board easier to break out and lower the ride height.

Bear Smokies, which aren't flippable trucks.

Bear Smokies, which aren’t flippable trucks.

This difference when you flip the hanger is called “rake.” For instance, if you have a truck that’s 45 degrees and the hanger is flipable with +/-2 degree rake, then the truck feels like it runs runs at either 43, or 47 degrees.

Calibers are an example of trucks that don’t have rake, when flipped they are the same, while Randals and Surf-Rodz are examples of trucks with rake.

Central Mass Longboard Fest 4: Updates, Registration Info and Lodging

The event that everyone’s buzzing about out east is the 4th Annual Central Massachusetts Longboard Fest in Harvard, MA, and for very good reason. The last 3 years have been some of the best organized and most fun events for both spectators and competitors, even with the torrential rain that has become somewhat of a tradition. This year the event is getting even better by expanding to a whole weekend’s worth of fun, giving racers more time on the course and allowing event organizer Mike Girard to choose an even better freeride hill than the one used in years past. While we knew a lot of this, more and more almost all the details have come about, so we figured it was time for an update post. It all starts on August 17 at 11:00am (you’ve got to register and go through tech inspection earlier, though) so get ready!

Updates

4th Annual Central Massachusetts Longboard Fest FlyerIn mid-June Mike Girard announced that Wheelbase Magazine’s Marcus Bandy would be emceeing the event and helping to organize the slide jam, which means very big things to come for that event. Girard told me he wants a lot of features for people to take full advantage of, and with Bandy on the mic I can’t imagine everyone will be anything less than entertained by both the skating and commentary.

Mike also announced the presenting sponsors for this year’s podiums. There are going to be cash prizes for the winners this year (and I’m sure plenty of swag, too), so these sponsors are really putting their money where their mouths are and stepping up to support the scene. Providence, Rhode Island-based pads company G-Form is the general sponsor, putting up big to help hook up all the winners. Loaded Boards and Orangatang Wheels are also back in the mix this year as presenting sponsors for the Pro DH and Women’s DH podiums, while Bear Trucks got on board to sponsor the Pro Slide Jam. Together these guys comprise the “Harvard Heroes,” putting their money where their mouth is and coming out in a big way to support the scene.

A $4,000 prize purse will be split amongst the Pro & Women’s devisions in DH and the slide jam — that’s some serious change on the line!  Mike has said that more sponsors will be announced in the near future, so stay tuned as that means there’ll be plenty of swag in the mix, too.

To put some icing on the cake, Mike also organized some live entertainment for the night of August 17th at the Billard Café in Ayer, MA and a shuttle to and from the hotel so that you don’t even need to figure a driving situation out. DJ Squnto aka Eric Roth (local shredder and legend) will be on hand to lay down some fine tunes, with others likely to be announced soon. You’ll also get to see some of the biggest names not only on the east coast, but in the industry throw down including Liam Morgan, Brian Bishop, Dane Webber, Norman Plante, Amanda Powell, Cindy Zhou, Josh Wright, Ed Neives, Steve Kong, Molly Lewis, Ethan Cochard, and so many more — honestly I’d keep going but I think you get the point. Henry and I will also be on deck, kissing hands and shaking babies, I mean, shaking hands and kissing babies, so find us and say hi!

Registration

Because of some mix-ups, registration is now starting on July 22nd at 8:00PM EST. You’ll be able to register over at EventBright by CLICKING HERE once registration opens for everyone. The pricing structure (which includes the EventBright fees) and size of the brackets (in parenthesis) are below:

DH – August 17
$60 – Pro (96), Women’s (32)
$50 – Am (64), Junior (32)

SLIDE JAM – August 18
$40 – All divisions (250)

*note: This may be different than on the SkateCentralMA.com FAQ page but is the most up-to-date and accurate as of 7/17

Schedule

Subject to some last minute tweaks and changes, which I’ll post when we hear about them, Mike Girard released the schedule as the following:

July 22:
8:00PM: Registration (See Registration Page for instructions)
August 16:
12:00PM: Haybale volunteers – meet at Harvard General Store

August 17:
7:00AM: Staff check-in and assignment
8:00AM: Rider check-in + tech inspection. T-shirts distributed in order of check-in
9:00AM: Road closes; First shuttles to top of hill for practice runs
11:00AM: First heats
1:00PM: Lunch break – 30 min
1:30PM: Racing resumes
4:00PM: Finals for each division
5:00PM: Road opens
5:10PM: Raffle drawing – Harvard General Store lawn
5:30PM: Podium ceremony – Harvard General Store lawn
6:00PM: Haybale volunteers begin bale transplant to slide jam hill.
– – Break – –
8:00PM: Shuttle from Holiday Inn Boxborough to Billiard Café, Ayer MA FEATURING LIVE MUSIC BY DJ SQUNTO (aka local shredder Eric Roth), with more to be announced soon.
11:45 PM: Shuttle from Billiards Café, Ayer MA to Holiday Inn Boxborough

August 18:
8:00AM: Staff check-in and assignment – Harvard General Store
8:30AM: Riders meet at Harvard General store
8:45AM: Shuttle from Harvard General Store to slide jam hill
9:00AM: Road closes; Rider check-in, tech inspection at bottom of slide jam hill
9:15AM: Practice
10:15AM: Open softwheel slide jam
11:15AM: Women’s slide jam
12:15PM: Lunch
1:30PM: Hardwheel slide jam
2:30PM: Pro softwheel slide jam
3:45PM: Longest slide
4:15PM: Built feature contest – TBA
5:00PM: Road opens; Shuttle to Harvard General Store
5:10PM: Raffle drawing
5:30PM: Podium ceremony – Harvard General Store lawn
6:30PM: Staff debrief; Takedown + de-haybaling

Lodging

Coupon Code for the 4th Annual Central MA Longboard Festival hotel specialThis is something you’ll want to get on earlier rather than later because there aren’t as many options in the Harvard area as one would like. Mike was able to set up a group deal at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough, MA for $89.00/night with 2 double beds. This is about $20.00 $30.00 off the usual price. Split it with 3 friends and you’ve got yourself some cheap accommodations for the weekend. You’ve gotta use the code CEN in the “Group Code” box in order to get the promotional pricing (check out the image to the left for an example). Again, I’d do this earlier rather than later or you’ll be looking for a spot to camp and missing out on the fun that’s likely to ensue.

SkateCentralMA.com Live!

Finally, the event’s official website, SkateCentralMA.com launched at long last! It’s got lots of info about the event straight from the horse’s mouth including directions, more info about the hotel, and a detailed FAQ. Give it a look if you’re confused about anything or mosey over to their Contact page if you’ve got a question for Mike Girard or want to get involved by sponsoring or volunteering!

Video: The True Mids Fiends

The word ‘mids’ is getting thrown around these days but shouldn’t loose its origins, or be diluted by the masses.  Its a fiendish word that’s epitomized by two of the original mids users, Norm Plante and Eric Roth.  Check out their new edit, back in the homelands, filmed and cut by Tom Leary.

Review: Loaded Boards Tesseract Review

Loaded Boards recently released the newest addition to their downhill and freeride lineup, the Tesseract. Drawing from lessons learned when developing two of their last major releases, the Tesseract blends some of our favorite features found in both the Chubby Unicorn and Kanthaka to create a super versatile and unbelievably fun board.

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tesseract bottom

It’s got variable wheelbase options from 24.5” up to 26”. At the wider wheelbase option your kicks aren’t as functional for ollies, but they’ll still get the job done. It’s symmetrically shaped and features symmetrical rocker, dish-concave kicktails, flared wheel wells, gas pedals and W concave. Every time I look at it I can’t help but think it looks like the Kanthaka and Chubby Unicorn had a baby, and this is the beautiful result.

tesseract full viewThe Tesseract is a bamboo core sandwiched between two layers of fibreglass. Topping things off, quite literally, is a layer of cork. The cork is there to help dampen road vibrations and prevent damage to the graphic from spreading the same way a wood veneer usually does, as cork doesn’t scratch the same as other woods. While I have reservations about the use of cork since it can dry out and crumble, as many Birkenstock owners know, it really does work as a dampener. The board is incredibly light, yet super stable and agile at speed, something I almost wasn’t expecting since it’s so thin. The gas pedals are well placed and the wheel well flares make for some pockets that lock your feet in perfectly and allow you to know where you’re standing at all times. The W concave is much less aggressive than what we found on the Chubby Unicorn, making it more comfortable for longer sessions and long distance pushes.

I’ve also been able to pop fat ollies on this board, most of the time without even slapping the tail all the way to the ground. We’ve really been having a blast riding it, both for freeride and downhill and think it’s an extremely versatile board that will be a go-to in a lot of people’s quivers. It’ll be in in stores by the end of July, including our friends at MuirSkate, so check it out when you get a chance! Check out what else we had to say in the video review!

You can also scoop a fresh Tesseract deck with some fast shipping via Amazon:

Photos courtesy of Loaded Boards. 

Video: Steady Steezin

Check out New York native Josh Moskowitz as he steezes down some curvy neighborhood runs.  We first met Josh a minute ago, when our homies Chris O’Brien and Jake Wade brought him along to a session when he first started skating and it’s been a ton of fun to watch him progress since then. You gotta love the old school fish eye cam, too.